There are many ways to think about a college football team. Which team is the best? Which team has the most future pro talent? Which team has an uncomfortably retrograde relationship with Native Americans (shout out to Florida State)? However, in the end, one method of ranking is the most important: which team is the most fun?
Look, in the end college football is about entertainment. We watch to be entertained, or because we have disturbingly close emotional bonds to our alma maters. If a team is fun to watch, they should have a special place in your heart. Alabama may be great. Nick Saban’s team may crush all in their path. They aren’t fun, though, so who needs them? Instead, dig into this list of the 10 most fun teams in college football.
10. Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions are the toast of the Big Ten, and they are currently in line for a spot in the playoffs. They have Saquon Barkley, who is awesome (649 yards rushing, 395 yards receiving, eight offensive touchdowns). He may win the Heisman, and if he does he’ll have a helluva highlight reel. Head coach James Franklin compared Pitt to Akron just to rile up their in-state rivals. That just adds fuel to the fun fire.
9. UCF Golden Knights
Who doesn’t love a good redemption story? Two seasons ago, the Golden Knights went 0-12. They lost to Furman! This year, head coach Scott Frost has them 5-0 with a chance to win the AAC and get a BCS bowl bid. Plus, they’ve scored more than 50 points per game, tops in the nation.
8. Syracuse Orange
The Orange may only be 4-3, but that includes a win over the defending champions Clemson. That turned them into the underdog made good. It helps that Dino Babers runs a fun offense. Steve Ishmael already has 62 catches for 802 yards. Here’s hoping they go bowling.
7. Purdue Boilermakers
It’s just nice to see the Boilermakers competitive again, to be honest. That alone is fun. College football can be too hegemonic, with the same teams always being good. So it’s great to see Jeff Brohm show up and immediately lift Purdue out of the doldrums. They are 3-3, and they gave Louisville, Michigan, and Wisconsin a run for their money. A team that’s good for the first time in forever and can hang with just about anybody? That’s a recipe for fun.
6. Arizona Wildcats
At first, it seemed like Rich Rod’s Wildcats weren’t going to be all that memorable, but maybe a little fun due to the fact so many Pac-12 teams seem to get in late-night shootouts. Then, Khalil Tate took over under center, and the dude is a beast. He’s run the ball 39 times for 643 yards and six touchdowns. He’s averaging 16.5 yards per carry! Arizona’s last two games have been a 45-42 win over Colorado and a 47-30 win over UCLA. No further argument is needed.
5. Navy Midshipmen
Part of what makes college football great is how vast the schemes can be. The sport has become extremely pass-happy, but on the flip side of things is Navy. The Midshipmen average 397.5 yards per game on the ground, the most in the FBS. If every team ran the triple option it’d get tedious, but Navy instead provides variety and something fresh, and they do it better than anybody else.
4. Louisville Cardinal
Louisville has two things going for them. One, they have Lamar Jackson. He’s amazing. He’s a one-man offense, and he won the Heisman last year. Every game he does a handful of stunning things. Two, their defense is garbage. Their games tend to be high scoring, which is nice. Also, since their defense gives up points so quickly, that means more Jackson on the field!
3. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma is one of the best teams in college football, even though they lost to Iowa State (who are pretty fun in their own right). The Sooners, led by offensive genius Lincoln Riley, has averaged 576 yards per game, third most in the FBS. They have Baker Mayfield, who is Heisman candidate under center with a lot of personality. Also, “Boomer Sooner” is a catchy fight song, as far as fight songs go.
2. Oklahoma State Cowboys
And yet, the Sooners aren’t even the most fun team in Oklahoma. The Cowboys are just a smidge more exciting. The Sooners have the third-best offense in the FBS? Cool, the Cowboys are first with 611 yards per game. They’ve averaged 411.2 yards per contest passing. Also, Mike Gundy has a mullet and seems like a wacky guy. It’s always a pleasure to watch Oklahoma State let it fly.
1. Washington State Cougars
That being said, Washington State is the king of fun. The Cougars have rarely been great, so it is fun to see them succeed. Their offense is pass-heavy and endlessly innovative despite being simple. That’s thanks to Mike Leach, of course. Leach is one of the most important people in the evolution of the college game. The master still has a few tricks up his sleeve, though. There also is no more fun personality in all of college football, and perhaps in all of sports. The defense is pretty good, too. Hey, it’s not all about offense